If the Donington Park season-opener is anything to go by, this year’s Radical Challenge championship battle already has the hallmarks of being one of the most closely fought in series history.
A new two-day race weekend format, featuring two 40-minute endurances (each with a compulsory pit stop) and a 20-minute sprint race served up scintillating wheel-to-wheel action throughout the thriving field of SR3s at Donington Park.
Expect more of the same as the second-round battle heads for the historic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent this weekend, 19-20 May, with each of the top six title fighters gunning for glory.
2016 Champion, Steve Burgess made clear his intentions to win back the Challenge crown from the outset with a brace of wins and second place ensuring the early title lead. The seasoned Radical racer will have it far from all his own way though, with a new race winner already stepping forward.
“We had a fantastic weekend at Donington Park and I’m really looking forward to more close racing with Dominik and Jérôme at Brands Hatch,” says Steve. “The Grand Prix circuit is challenging, getting a good qualifying run will be key to start up front and weather will also be a factor.”
Reigning SR1 Cup Champion, Jérôme de Sadeleer spoiled Burgess’ hat-trick hopes with what was sure to be the first of many victories with 360 Racing. An impressive fifth, fastest lap and third place podium earlier in the weekend sees the Swiss driver just five points adrift of second in the standings.
“Brands Hatch is a bit of a daunting track, certainly less forgiving than Donington. I was quick last year at Brands in the SR1 and I’ve had a day of testing there in the SR3, so I hope to be right up there,” commented Jérôme. “It’s going to be intense at the front with five or six drivers capable of taking the win. Getting a good set-up will be really important.”
Second spot is occupied by Burgess’ teammate, reigning Vice Champion Dominik Jackson. He continued his stellar 2017 form to take a clean sweep of podiums at Donington Park, and it can only be a short matter of time before the RAW Motorsport charge takes his first win.
Another visitor to the round one rostrum was Kristian Jeffrey. Although forced to record a DNF in race two, a superb recovery drive from 19th on the grid to sixth places him a healthy fifth in the table. With fourth placed Mark Crader sitting out this round, Jeffrey will be looking to climb the order.
Elliot Goodman leads the fierce mid-field battle, where he faces stiff competition from Mark Richards, Richard Baxter, Brian Harvey and Brian Caudwell.
Returning to the Challenge fold, Peter Brookes heads to Brands Hatch off the back of his Radical Masters Supersport class win at Estoril, while Oli Marateotto, son of Radical regular Marcello, makes his SR3 debut.
Joe and Adrian Watt lead the Team class battle with two wins already on the board, but they can expect a refreshed attack from John Caudwell and Stuart Moseley. The Nielsen pair bounced back from two non-finishes to win race three at Donington, to rank joint second with Peter Tyler and Tom Gladdis.
The second round Radical Challenge action at Brands Hatch begins with qualifying at 11.20 on Saturday 19 May, followed by the first race of the weekend at 15.50. Sunday kicks off with a 20-minute sprint race at 10.50, ahead of the final 40-minute endurance at 15.30 (all timings remain provisional). Live timing is available via www.tsl-timing.com.
Radial Challenge Championship Standings
1 Steve Burgess 198pts
2 Dominik Jackson 165
3 Jérôme de Sadeleer 160
4 Mark Crader 112
5 Kristian Jeffrey 104
6 Elliot Goodman 96
1 Joe/Adrian Watt 90
=2 John Caudwell/Stuart Moseley 45
=2 Peter Tyler/Tom Gladdis 45